• Pinto Mustang Stallion

    Category: Horses

    Many breeds found all over the world can carry the pinto gene, but it seems to be most strongly associated with mustangs and the American west. Ask any child to draw a horse and there is a very good chance that you will get a pinto. If you ask that same child to draw a Native American warrior on a horse, you are almost guaranteed to get a pinto. The American Paint Horse is a pinto with Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse ancestry and America has the largest number of pintos found in the world today.

    Pinto Mustang Stallion

    Pinto Mustang Stallion

    Scientific & Common Names

    Kingdom - Animalia

    Phylum - Chordata

    Class - Mammalia

    Order - Perissodactyla

    Family - Equidae

    Genus – Equus

    Species – Equus ferus

    Common Names – Mustang, pinto, paint

    Characteristics

    Mustangs are a free roaming feral horse descended from mostly Spanish stock but also from any other breeds of horse that either escaped captivity or were released. As a result of this mixing, mustangs can have a wide variety of coat colors and even body types. Pintos can be any base color, but it is most commonly black or brown and then the white is spread over their bodies in various patch formations. Black and white pintos are referred to as piebald and others are known as skewbald.

    Breeding

    Mustang stallions fight other stallions to control a herd and then mate with the mares. The stronger and smarter a stallion is, the larger and more successful his herd will be. A good stallion will pass on strong genes and protect the entire herd.

    Behavior

    Mustangs are smart and sturdy, able to live in often harsh environments where predators such as wolves and cougars are present and sometimes common. There is a great deal of diversity in the breeds represented by mustangs, although the majority of their ancestry is from Spanish horses. Thoroughbreds, draft horses, and gaited horses all add their genes to the mix and their traits can alter how the mustang behaves.

    History

    The history of horses in North America is fascinating and complicated. The genus equidae seems to have originated in North America fifty million years ago and emigrated out via the land bridge to Asia. Native horses then went extinct around 13,000-8,000 years ago and were not seen on the continent again until they were brought by Europeans. The Native Americans then quickly adopted the animals into their culture and perfected their use. Although horses were returned to North America as early as the end of the 15th century, they did not become an established and self sustaining population until nearly the 17th century.

    Present Status

    Since mustangs are feral and not considered a wild species, they are not listed under conservation status, although there have been arguments to reclassify them as wild. There are large populations in Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana, as well as parts of Canada, all of which are managed by the respective governments.

    References

    1. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
    2. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
    3. Bureau of Land Management
    4. Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West by Deanne Stillman
    5. Wild Horses of the West: History and Politics of America's Mustangs by J. Edward de Steiguer
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